Nightly Blogroll — Though Amaryllis dance edition


The “Amaryllis” edition stuff? Well, here it is, a warm Spring night, just started writing, and “Though Amaryllis dance in green” comes up on the playlist, and it just seemed to fit the mood so well…

And re: the banner, well, Atlus’ newly revamped MMO import NeoSteam closed its Open Beta today to relaunch soon as a real live game. Rumor has it that characters from both the closed and open betas will carry through to the live game, so if you’ve a yen to play a fairly standard fantasy grinder with PvP and a light industrial flair, give it a shot.

Aion had its first closed beta this last weekend, where players were invited to join the lighter side of Aion’s warring factions. Aion has been passing out beta keys like they were Reese’s Pieces at an ET convention and though absolutely thoroughly detailed information about the beta is easy to come by, only Ravious of Kill Ten Rats is Daeva enough to blog about it. But then, he got permission (and I am trying to!). His take? Highly polished but standard gameplay, with the ease of the first ten levels no indication that there is no grind to come.

I find it hard to disagree with anything he wrote.

It’s not so much that your game has standard classes, it’s what the players want. It’s what you do with them. Gordon at We Fly Spitfires (note: I would love to fly in a Spitfire) writes about his favorite MMO classes from games past and present. Beastlord? Yes, please!

Out of all the blog posts this weekend about people’s experiences with Sims 3, Ogrebears’ is my favorite. You just KNOW that he’s a rebel, in his leather jacket and emerald skin, sitting at the school lunch table without a care as the girls go crazy for him.

Lots of people agree that the biggest problem with playing MMOs is having to play them with other people. When you’re solo, you can start and stop when you like and you always get first roll on all the loot. And you don’t have to deal with other people’s problems. Melmoth from Killed in a Smiling Accident asks, with game after game turning to NPCs to fill out your groups — will there be something you miss, after all, when all the other players disappear?

A month or so ago, Mythic called ex-Warhammer players back to the fold with an email detailing the exciting changes available for your exact character, name included. Now they’ve sent out another letter which mines your friends list so you can see which of your friends is still “carrying the banner”.

Is it cool or creepy to get such personalized email? I can’t wait to get an email saying, “Wow, bummer that you lost your job. Did you know that these day-time guilds are recruiting your class?”

WAR may be war everywhere, all the time, killing and more killing, but not all games promise that as their sole focus. EverQuest 2, for instance, has separate paths for adventurers and crafters, and crafters even have dungeon instances of their own (hint: you defeat the enemy by crafting). Ysharros and her hubby have been spending a lot of time doing the harvesting and crafting quests and enjoying the uber rewards. Who needs to kill dragons when you could be mining feysteel?

With over two million players, you never know who you’ll find wandering around in Wizard 101. Thomas has an interview with Terry Dietz, a sculptor who is slowly cataloging the wizards and fauna of the game in polymer clay. Absolutely amazing work!

Now that SOE is axing underperforming MMOs, which is next to go? Ardwulf has been tipping his toe in the pool where Openedge1 usually swims, and is looking to see if XFire can answer which games are teetering on the edge. It’s not looking good for Pirates of the Burning Sea and Planetside, but Vanguard might just sneak through.

Syp takes a look at how adding a simple travel power like Super Jump to a hero in City of Heroes adds an entirely new dimension to the game, and wonders why other games don’t let you do truly heroic things like that? Could super jump (and stuff like that) be the missing ingredient to making ordinary adventurers into heroes?

And lastly, Anjin has a complete run-down of what we’ll see in Free Realms’ future. Soccer/football? Yes, please! Prestige classes? Sounds EXCELLENT! Here’s hoping SOE fixes my account so I can play again :)

See you tomorrow on the Tuesday Nightly Blogroll!

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7 thoughts on “Nightly Blogroll — Though Amaryllis dance edition”

  1. Where’s all this MMO-as-solo-game talk coming from?

    Yes, I also complain that I can’t find a group in SoD, but I _want_ to find groups! Grouping is the greatest experience in a game that implements them well, like SoD, EQ and presumably EQ2 (haven’t played). Yes, there is effort involved in setting up and finding groups, and it’s good if everyone has some maturity so you don’t have rage quitters, but when it works, it’s one of the fundamental elements of a good MMO.

    If I had to something like WoW solo (which is what you do most of the time in WoW), I wouldn’t even bother. And I don’t :) It’s far too drawn-out and repetitive when played solo. I can play an hour of Baldur’s Gate II and accomplish a dozen heroic things, while WoW is “kill ten rats”. Proper single-player RPGs have a higher story density, usually more creative NPCs and all that — why would I sacrifice that for a solo “MM”ORPG?

    Get more social, people! Or play SoD, where courtesy and maturity were part of all pickup groups I’ve played in so far.

  2. I have a hate/hate relationship right now with one guildie in AoC who has pointed out adamantly that he “Solos” and NEVER groups.
    At one point I mentioned he may wish to try, due to some great dungeons out there.
    We have argued the point a bit.,

    Yet, this weekend, he joined one guild dungeon group. I then saw why he should STAY solo (a sightseeing member of the group if you will).

    I hate to say it…but he arguably won me over to the case for solo play needing to be more readily available.

    Give me my henchmen now!

  3. Just because you like the massive part of MMOs doesn’t mean you want to do group content. I’m sorry but that ship has already sailed. There’s room for both types of players. I solo about 75%, group 15% and BS 10% and love MMOs. I can’t even get a week’s worth of play anymore in a single player RPG. NPCs just don’t hold my attention. Even The Sims has been ruined for me but I still dabble in it but not NEARLY the way I did before I walked into my first MMO.

  4. Saylah: So your perfect MMO would be played about 75% solo?

    What do you do with the other PCs, roleplay? If not, I think the comparison to single player RPGs isn’t appropriate. The NPCs in a good single player RPG are at least five times as inventive (and canonical!) as the best guild chat I’ve read.

    Or arwe you saying that an NPC can never be your friend like your guild friends can? That’s a given I’d say :)

  5. It’s the free will actions of other players that I enjoy. Even henchmen can’t replace them in that regard. I wouldn’t object to having henchmen so I could complete group content but that’s not a big deal to me – group content. It’s existing along side other players, crafting, participating in the economy, grazing the same zones and such, that aren’t comparable to solo RPGs and NPCs.

    You’re out questing and you run into someone that needs that same higher level mob you do. You help each other out and go about your business. You’ve gotten yourself in a tight fix and someone comes by and heals you, does DPS or tanks it off you or do the same for others. It’s the cooperative nature of being in a shared virtual game that I enjoy about MMOs.

  6. Ahh, so you were talking about NPCs vs. real humans in groups :) There I agree of course. I’ve played Guild Wars for quite some time, and even though it has excellent henchman and Hero (controllable henchmen that level with you) AI, it’s still impossible to do some of the more complex missions without humans taking part.

    Point understood. I’ve seen drive-by heals and the like that happen in EQ, SoD and Runes of Magic, but some other games (no names) make me wonder why people play at all, as there was no kind of interaction at all. And if there was, it usually ended with drama, rage-quitting and the like.

    I think that’s what makes people solo entire MMOs, it’s less the game designs but more the “quality” of other people in those games :P

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